Saturday, February 28, 2009

The California Pizza Kitchen

I printed Bill's pizza recipe, went to the store and then came home and cooked up a pie. This was the first time we used our pizza stone to actually cook a pizza on.

The pie turned out good. We followed the recipe but I forgot to pre-cook the crust in advance (I would do it next time - perhaps even brushed with a little olive oil on top). It was a tomato and mushroom pie. The corn meal is an essential component to the crust too. I could have rolled the crust a bit thinner too.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ultimate Wheat Crust Pizza Pie

By request, here's the fine wheat pizza crust recipe I've been working with. I found this recipe at Eatingwell.com, but have noted certain modifications I have made based on the experience I have gained from using the recipe five or six times.
I make my pie in an approximately 9 1/2 inch by 13 1/2 inch cookie sheet pan.


Makes Makes 1-12 ounce or 1 pound dough

ACTIVE TIME: 5 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

EASE OF PREPARATION: Moderate

INGREDIENTS:
To make 12 ounces dough:
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2-2/3 cup hot water (120-130°F)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make 1 pound dough:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package quick-rising yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons), such as Fleischmann's RapidRise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup hot water (120-130°F)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

I USE THE 12 OUNCE DOUGH MEASUREMENTS AS IT SEEMS RIGHT FOR THE SIZE OF COOKIE SHEET I USE. VARY AMOUNTS BASED ON THE SIZE OF YOUR SHEET, PAN, OR STONE. WHEN IT DOUBT, MAKE THE LARGER AMOUNT SO YOU WILL HAVE ENOUGH DOUGH TO COVER YOUR PAN.


I HAVE TRIED USING LARGER PROPORTIONS OF THE WHOLE-WHEAT FLOUR TO INCREASE THE HEALTH PROFILE OF MY CRUST, AND IT WORKS FINE, BUT THE HALF AND HALF MIX OF WHOLE-WHEAT AND WHITE FLOWER SEEMS IDEAL. AS LONG AS YOU DON'T USE ANY ENRICHED OR BLEACHED FLOUR, YOU SHOULD BE GOOD.

1. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.

I DON'T USE A FOOD PROCESSOR, I JUST MIX IT UP IN A BOWL WITH SPOON AND THEN COVER THE BOWL TO LET THE DOUGH RISE FOR 10 MINUTES.



2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.

LIKE I SAID, I TOTALLY SKIP THIS STEP JUST LETTING THE DOUGH RISE IN THE BOWL FOR 10 MINUTES. IT WORKS WELL AND SAVES SOME HASSLE.

AS THE DOUGH IS RISING IN THE MIXING BOWL, I COAT MY COOKIE SHEET LIBERALLY WITH EXTRA VIRGEN OLIVE OIL. THEN, I LIBERALLY SPRINKLE CORNMEAL OVER THE OILED COOKIE SHEET. I HAVE TRIED IT WITHOUT THE CORNMEAL AND IT STICKS MORE. WITH THE CORNMEAL, THE PIE TASTES BETTER AND IT SLIDES OFF THE PAN EASILY. ALSO GET YOUR OVEN PREHEAT GOING TO ABOUT 450.


AFTER THE 10 MINUTES OR SO, I TAKE THE DOUGH OUT OF THE BOWL AND STRETCH IT A BIT BY HAND. THEN I PLOP IT ON THE OILED CORNMEALED COOKIE SHEET. FROM HERE, I USE A ROLLER SOME, BUT MAINLY JUST USE MY HANDS TO SPREAD THE DOUGH OVER THE PAN. IF DOUGH IS STICKY, I SPRINKLE FLOUR OVER IT SO IT WON'T STICK TO MY HANDS.


FROM HERE, I LIKE TO BAKE THE PIZZA DOUGH FOR ABOUT 2 OR 3 MINUTES WITHOUT ANY TOPPINGS ON IT IN MY NOW PREHEATED TO 450 OVEN. THIS IS A TIP I LEARNED FROM DAD. THIS PARTIALLY BAKED CRUST RESULTS IN A CRISPER CRUST EXPERIENCE. THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL, AS I HAVE HAD SUCCESS WITHOUT THE PREBAKE.

NOW IT'S TIME TO TOP YOUR PIE. I USE RAGU PIZZA QUICK SAUCE OR SIMILAR. IF YOU USE THE THIS SAUCE, ABOUT HALF OF THE JAR IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT FOR THE 12 OUNCE CRUST PROPORTIONS. SPREAD THE SAUCE OVER THE CRUST WITH SPOON OR HANDS.


FOR THE SMALLER 12 OUNCE CRUST SIZE, I USE, USE ABOUT 1 CUP OF CHEESE. FRESH VEGGIES ARE THE BEST TOPPINGS, BUT I FIND THAT CANNED CHOPPED TOMATOES (NO SODIUM ADDED VARIETY) TASTES GREAT AND IS CHEAP AND EASY (BE SURE TO DRAIN WELL). I USE A HALF A CAN OF THESE FOR THIS SIZE OF CRUST.

BY USING HALF THE JAR OF PIZZA SAUCE, ONE CUP FROM A STANDARD TWO CUP BAG OF CHEESE, AND HALF OF THE CAN OF CHOPPED TOMATOES, I GET TWO PIZZA PIES OUT OF ONE ROUND OF INGREDIENTS



3. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack;
preheat oven to 500°F or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired
(we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp
and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.

I ONLY GO TO 450 INSTEAD OF 500. YOU HAVE TO FIGURE THIS OUT BASED ON YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR OWN OVEN. I COOK MINE ONLY FOR 10 MINUTES. I USED 500 DEGREES FOR 10 MINUTES BAKING THE PIE PICTURED BELOW AND AS YOU CAN SEE, IT WAS STARTING TO OVERCOOK. THAT'S WHY I WENT TO 450. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO START CHECKING YOUR PIE AFTER ABOUT 7 MINUTES TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T BURN.



ENJOY!!!!! YOU'VE JUST MADE A $3.00 PIZZA THAT TASTES BETTER AND IS HEALTHIER THAN THE ONES YOU GET FROM THE DELIVERY BOYS OR THE GROCERY STORE!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jack at School

Here's a rare snap of Jack at school eating something.



This week-end is one of our first with absolutely nothing scheduled in a while. They are having a big Johnny "Cash Bash" at the prison / library. We've also thought of taking him to downtown Placerville...

King Cake Time!

This week is king cake time! Don't eat the baby!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Sub Deal is Good.. but...

how does what experts consider Mozart's 99 best pieces of work (who really cares if they are off by a few) in MP3 form for $3.00 sound!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001NJUGV0?tag=slickdeals

Snap it up quickly and if you haven't downloaded from Amazon before you'll need to install their free music downloader. Happy listening and check out the Horn concertos!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free Quiznos Sub



Quiznos is giving away free subs. I tried this and it's legit, they email you the coupon for a free small sub.
Here's the link for you FREE SUB!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Australian Shepherd / Golden Retriever Mix

Erin's cousin Jared went to the Humane Society for a new dog and came home with this Aussie/Goldie mix pup. As you can tell, the two breeds seem to make a good combination.

Paczki

Lately I've been seeing a lot of promotions around local grocery stores for paczki, and example of which you can see here:

They say the paczki will only be around until Fat Tuesday, so we decided to snap up a box.

So what is a paczki? According to Wikipedia, they are: Pączki (Polish: pączki) are traditional Polish doughnuts. Pączki is the plural form of the word pączek (pronounced: [ˈpɔ̃t͡ʂɛk]) in Polish, though many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural.

A pączek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest.

In Poland, they are eaten especially on Fat Tuesday, the last Tuesday before Lent which is Wednesday (Ash Wednesday (Polish: Tłusty czwartek. Traditionally, the reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, which are forbidden during Lent.

Due to New Orleans' influence, in America, pączki are eaten on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) rather than on Fat Thursday. In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Paczki Day is also celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike.

Erin and I like the Paczki pretty pretty well. It's about like eating a donut. Ours are filled with white cream fluff, but there were many filling choices available.

Doggy Doormat

We picked up a new doormat for the front porch that will help to convey to would be intruders that they should enter at their own risk. Yuki approves!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Long Term Growth

In my younger days (40 years or so ago) I received the wisdom that common stocks should be bought and held for the long term as a major way to save for future goals. I passed this wisdom, perhaps with less enthusiasm, along to my children. Here is a list of ten stocks which have been known over the years as 'growth securities'. These figures ignore dividends and are split-adjusted.

Symbol........Price Early 1999.....Current Price.....Percent Change

MMM....................40........................48.........................+20
MSFT....................44........................18..........................-59
MCD......................43.........................56.........................+30
KO.........................63.........................43..........................-32
MRK.....................82..........................28.........................-66
BMY.....................63..........................21.........................-67
WMT....................45..........................48.........................+7
GE.........................35..........................11.........................-68
MOT.....................24...........................4..........................-83
PG.........................49...........................50........................+2

The arithmetic mean of these percentage changes is minus 32. I haven't known in the past what to do with my money, and I don't know now. But I can tell you this: There is some cool charting software available for free use on the web.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jack in the Mafia??

We got Jack's school pictures back today and it seems he's considering a career in the mafia. He had his 18 month check-up today and in weighed in at 23 1/2 lbs and is 31 inches tall. Roughly 25% percentile across the board. To celebrate no strep throat he scored three vaccination shots.

The Rondo Ad

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rondo

Does anybody else remember Rondo? This used to be one of my favorite sodas as a kid. I remember a giant balloon of a Rondo can in the parking lot at Arkansas State football game. Man if that giant balloon was a real can full of real Rondo, you could drink for a month!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Jack's Tonka Ride

Jack has begun to develop an affinity for trucks after a trip to his friends' birthdays this past week-end. So much so that we felt we needed to get him his very own Tonka truck the next day. Here he is after he learned he could sit in the dump portion of the truck. On display are sound effects from his parents as well as many of the words he knows. Enjoy!

Fake Cheese = Real Gagging

Because one bag of shredded cheddar cheese is the same as another, we decided to buy the cheapest bag we could find. I opened the cheese to use on a salad and happened to throw a few shreds into my mouth. Soon after I was spitting and gagging at the sink. Something was terribly wrong. Turns out we accidently bought an imitation cheese product called "Cheddamelt". It's an oil based non-dairy product that ranks among the worst things I have ever put in my mouth. I put some blame on the grocery store manager who decided to hang this crap right in the center of all the real cheese, but ultimately, I have to blame myself for not paying attention. Beware!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Denver's Blue Horse Grabs Attention

News of the 32' tall blue horse just installed outside of Denver's International Airport is drawing attention around the country. The general consensus seems to be that the horse is scary and not a good way to welcome or say good-bye to travelers in and out of Denver.

Here's a picture of it being unveiled.



Thoughts on the horse? I don't really mind the thing.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jack's on a Mission (with banana in hand)

Jack decided he wanted a banana so we obliged and he began carrying it around while playing...



in this case he was off to play the piano...

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